Game Review: A Short Hike

I'm playing through the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. You can follow along with all my game reviews.

This is the delightful indie game A Short Hike. I don't play many video games, because I find them arbitrary and confusing. They also go on far too long. But "Hike" is the perfect length. I completed it within 2 hours (I think - more on that later). Which, considering I paid $10 for a hundred games as part of the bundle, feels like good value for money!

It's an open-world adventure, which basically consists of a couple of dozen Zelda-style side-quests. Get the mission, pick up a thing, take it over there, climb this, use that, sell this, buy that. Nothing stunningly original, but a great way to spend an afternoon.

I absolutely hated Untitled Goose Game because it was all hype and no substance. This is different. It's a charming little adventure. Zero stress, zero consequences.

There are three minor things I found annoying. And I'm prepared to believe that they're just me not being used to this style of game.

Crappy graphics.

Apparently the blocky graphics are part of the game's aesthetic. I can appreciate that - but it made my eyes hurt and made certain quests really hard.

Blocky pixelated graphics.

Annoyingly, after I completed the game, I found there was an option to have smooth graphics.

Gorgeous smooth graphics.

I've no idea why that isn't the default.

Where am I? What do I have to do?

There's no map, so I found myself wandering around lost. That's not a feeling I enjoy in life, so I don't enjoy it in a game.
Similarly, there's no quest log. I've no idea what quests I have, which have been completed, how many MacGuffins I need to pick up. It was quite frustrating.

Which leads me to the last complaint...

Have I completed the game?

I don't know. I climbed the mountain. Took the phone call. Got most objects back to their owners (I think). And found a load of feathers.

Is that it?

A polar bear says "I'll figure out the ending myself".

It's fine if it is. But I ended up getting a bit bored wandering around lost - so the game fizzled out.

I don't have time to play many games. My gaming experience is mostly sitting and watching my wife play endless quests on Skyrim and Dragon Age. So this was an entertaining - if slightly frustrating - diversion.

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